Facebook Preparing Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple for 'Unfair' Approach to Privacy and Default Apps

Facebook is preparing to launch a lawsuit against Apple for alleged anticompetitive behaviour, particularly regarding App Tracking Transparency and iMessage, according to The Information.

Apple vs Facebook feature

The antitrust lawsuit would contend that Apple has abused its power in the smartphone industry by enforcing App Store rules that Apple itself supposedly does not have to follow. Within this, the case would argue rules such as the requirement that developers use Apple's own in-app payment service, make it harder to compete in areas such as gaming, messaging, and shopping.

iOS 14's App Tracking Transparency feature, which allows users to opt-out of being tracked via an on-screen prompt, is believed to be central to Facebook's case. Facebook alleges that the prompts are unfair because they do not appear for Apple's own apps, offering it a competitive advantage. However, Apple's apps do not track users or share data for advertising purposes, so this seems to be a bemusing foundation for the lawsuit.

In addition to App Tracking Transparency, Facebook is expected to focus on Apple's refusal to allow third-party messaging apps to be installed as the default option on iPhones and iPads. The company lobbied Apple to allow users to choose Facebook's Messenger app as the default on iOS instead of iMessage in September last year, and it now claims that Apple disallows other messaging apps to be set as default in an effort to prevent people from switching to competing smartphone brands.

Facebook has also reportedly considered inviting other companies to participate in its prospective lawsuit against Apple. A natural ally would seemingly be Epic Games, which has been embroiled in a legal battle with Apple since Fortnite was removed from the App Store for breaking Apple's rules.

The news appears to be a considerable escalation in tensions between the two companies, which have become increasingly fraught in recent months. For example, in December, Facebook paid for a series of full-page advertisements in national newspapers to berate iOS 14's App Tracking Transparency, saying that it harms small businesses.

During Facebook's quarterly earnings call with investors yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Apple's business is increasingly focused "on gaining share in apps and services against us and other developers." He continued, "so Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own."

While Facebook may be seeking monetary damages, the preferable outcome is believed to be significant changes to Apple's platform restrictions and ‌App Store‌ rules. The Information notes that in spite of Facebook's legal preparations, it may yet decide to not bring the case to court.

One factor within this is said to be considerable internal dissent within Facebook itself. Executives are facing "internal resistance" from some employees over the prospect of deepening its public campaign against Apple with a lawsuit. Specifically, some employees are apparently concerned that Facebook is "not a compelling victim," especially given the company's own antitrust cases and mishandling of user data.

Top Rated Comments

BreuerEditor Avatar
40 months ago
I hope this bytes Facebook in the bits. Did I say that out-loud?
Score: 71 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robertcoogan Avatar
40 months ago
Well, Epic can take a rest now. Facebook will play the part of the fool from now on.
Score: 66 Votes (Like | Disagree)
atomwork Avatar
40 months ago
Funny, this coming from Facebook. ?
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JungeQuex Avatar
40 months ago
I really don’t think that Facebook realized that the population is against them on this one. Talk about living in an ivory tower. I don’t really care how this effects their bottom line - if they can’t make money without harvesting my data to sell, then they should go out of business.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Manzanito Avatar
40 months ago
Why do people still use facebook?
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pakaku Avatar
40 months ago

He continued, "so Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own."
Scummy apps like Facebook which infringe on privacy need to be interfered with and kept in check, so good on Apple for being """unfair"""
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

General Apps Messages

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 am PST by
Apple today announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks." Apple believes the PQ3 protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," according to its blog post:Today we are announcing...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro Notch

Apple's OLED Roadmap: New iPad Mini, Foldable iPad Pro, and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 5:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to launch at least nine new devices with OLED displays across the iPad and MacBook product lines, according to an updated forecast from research firm Omdia that sets out the company's plans in detail. As widely rumored, Apple's push to transition to OLED will apparently be jump-started by the release of new 11- and 13-inch iPad Pro models this year. The displays will...
Next Generation CarPlay Porsche 1

Apple Launching Next-Generation CarPlay This Year With These New Features

Wednesday February 21, 2024 2:03 pm PST by
Apple recently updated its website to confirm that the first vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay support will debut "in 2024." This wording is shown on Apple's regional websites for the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The iOS 17.4 beta includes code-level references to eight new CarPlay apps:Auto Settings: This app will let you manage paired iPhones...
iPhone Notch

Apple Explored These Notch and Dynamic Island Designs for iPhones

Friday February 23, 2024 2:05 pm PST by
With the iPhone 14 Pro models in 2022, Apple introduced the Dynamic Island, which can morph and expand to display system alerts, sports scores, and a variety of other information. The feature makes the space surrounding the front camera and Face ID sensors useful compared to the notch on older iPhone models. Apple explored a variety of ideas for the iPhone's notch area over the years before...
cracked glass vision pro

Handful of Apple Vision Pro Units Develop Identical Crack in Cover Glass

Friday February 23, 2024 4:46 am PST by
A small number of Apple Vision Pro owners have claimed that their headsets developed a hairline crack down the middle of the front cover glass, despite having never been dropped or mishandled. Photo of hairline crack in Vision Pro front glass (credit: Reddit user Inphenite) The first report was posted in the subreddit /r/VisionPro about 18 days ago, and several more have appeared in the last...
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

Apple's Upcoming OLED iPad Pro Models Rumored to Be Much Thinner

Tuesday February 20, 2024 1:39 pm PST by
Apple is planning to update the iPad Air and iPad Pro lineups as soon as March, and the new iPad Pro models will be significantly thinner according to dimensions shared by 9to5Mac. Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site claims that the larger version will be more than 1mm thinner. The current 12.9-inch iPad Pro measures in at 6.4mm thick, but the new model is said to be 5mm ...